C. Saraswathi Bai

I present to you, Sir, Smt. C. Saraswathi Bai, one of the foremost exponents of Harikatha Kalakshepam in South India. Born in 1894, Smt. Saraswathi Bai studied Sanskrit, Karnatak Music and the art of Harikatha Kalakshepam under Shri Krishnacharya of Tiruvaiyyaru. She also studied Hindustani Music under the guidance of Ustad Yakub Ali Khan. She was the first woman to take to the profession of rendering Harikatha Kalakshepam. She has been justly acclaimed as one of the leading exponents of the art of Harikatha Kalakshepam and has been honoured by a number of organisations both in the North and in the South. The various titles that have been conferred upon her would make an impressive list. Shrimati Saraswathi Bai has been specially honoured by the Madras Music Academy; she is a member of the Academy’s Experts Committee. The Madras State Sangeet Nataka Sangam gave her an award in 1961. Gifted with a voice of great richness, volume and quality and a very wide repertoire of compositions in various languages, her Kalakshepams, have always been of a very high standard because she combines musicianship of a high order with Bhakti rasa in the true Bhagavatar tradition. For her contribution to music, particulary in the field of Harikatha Kalakshepam, Smt. Saraswathi Bai has been elected Fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.